Bryce Harper and The Search For A Hero

Recently Washington Nationals outfielder and probable National League Most Valuable Player Bryce Harper was hit by a weaponized fastball.  San Francisco Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland decided that he would throw in and tight to the lefty slugger to send a message.

It seems that back in the 2014 NL playoffs Harper made mincemeat of a couple of Strickland’s pitches and let the veteran hurler know with a mean mug.

Harper decided that he wanted to dance with the  right handed flame thrower.  He grabbed his helmet and tossed it like he was playing frisbee golf while running to the pitcher’s mound.  

Strickland had an inkling that Harper was on his way so as the helmet was being tossed he started his warmup and began to fire punches at the batter.  

Harper fired a few in return like two battleships next to each other with their guns pointed too close they only made incidental contact but no direct hits.  Bullpens and dugouts ran to the field and everyone acted like they were auditioning for a part in West Side Story- you’re either a Jet or a Shark baby.

After all the crazies had left the field, it was up to  me to ask: was Strickland seriously pissed about those two home runs for three years?  Come on dude you won a World Series with the Giants in 2014.  Did you not see Frozen?  Let it go already.

But it’s not just Strickland, there have been numerous incidents where batters were thrown at or hit by pitchers because they took them deep.  Maybe they also put a little “jump” in their step too when they rounded the bases, but it’s a sport isn’t it?  When was the last time you played or watched a sport you cared about and didn’t get emotionally involved?

One of my favorite players lights up the radar because he tends to hold on to his bat “too long” or toss it “too high.”  In case you aren’t sure, I’m referring to Jose Bautista, or “Joey Bats” as he is lovingly called,  of the Toronto Blue Jays.

During the 2015 American League Division Series, the Jays were tied with the Texas Rangers 3-3 in the decisive fifth game.  The series had been a grueling nasty affair and neither team liked the other.  With two men on base, two outs and relief pitcher Sam Dyson on the mound, “Bats” saw a 97 mile per hour fastball and crushed it over the left field fence.  

He watched the ball fly reminding me of Roberto Alomar’s 92 ALCS home run off A’s pitcher Dennis Eckersley.  Alomar put his arms out as he ran to first, he had never hit a bigger home run in his career.  He would never hit another as big as that.

Bautista however paused, watched and then threw his bat as if to say “you can’t throw a 97 MPH fastball by me.”

The Rangers however were none too impressed. Most of baseball wasn’t impressed.

But I wonder, in a sport where we celebrate the home run and passion behind it why is it so wrong for hitters to show emotion?  Haven’t we moved past the point where our home run slugger gently places a bat down and runs as fast as he can around the bases?  Why are we so afraid to “show up the pitcher?”

If the pitcher didn’t want to be shown up, throw a better pitch.  The pitcher holds all the advantages in this game- he can fire pitches at someone’s body and ruin a career.  If Sam Dyson faced Joey Bautista again and wanted to “send a message,” he could throw the ball at the Jays’ slugger’s head.  If he made contact it could be lights out especially at 97 miles per hour.

Letting pitchers “send messages” only serves to create more conflict, cause injuries and take away the passion in the game.

Clearing The Mechanism and Acting Like A Human

Working late while the Toronto Blue Jays play the Indians in the American League Championship Series all I can think about is staying up as a teen and listening to the World Series when the Blue Jays played the Atlanta Braves.

I can remember sitting up in the dark with my headphones on to hear third baseman (and Canadian hero) Ed Sprague drill a home run over the wall at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

Damn it’s unreal to listen to baseball on the radio.  I listened to a lot of that series and I remember how exciting it was to hear the Jays when that one.

Interestingly enough, I was at Mountain Lake, Virginia (where much of Dirty Dancing was filmed) when the deciding game of the World Series was played – I had just attended a Virginia Tech football game.

The VT game that saw the #1 Miami Hurricanes come to Blacksburg led by Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta at QB and a wealth of offensive talent around him.

Little did I know there was a star on that Miami team by the name of Dwayne Johnson.

Queue the “Rock Eyebrow.”

That day the Hokies were dismantled by a team destined for a National Championship shot against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

Led by Gene Stallings, the #2 Crimson Tide would take the ‘Canes apart 34-13 to complete a perfect 12-0 season and claim the title of NCAA champs.

However, on that October night in Virginia, I was the only Blue Jays fan in the small room where people had gathered to watch the game.

I was ushered off to my room before the Blue Jays could clinch the World Series for fear that I would take too much abuse.  As a young man I was very passionate about my sports.

I was ready to fight over who was the better team.  You and I both know the Jays were – that World Series trophy says it all.

Okay.

I wouldn’t have fought I wasn’t that kind of kid.

The following year I watched Joltin’ Joe Carter destroy a Mitch Williams pitch to give the Jays back-to-back championships.

I remember that World Series moment very well.

Former Jays’ announcer Tom Cheek, who died in 2005 of cancer, said “Touch ‘em all Joe, you’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life!”

Joe Carter never did hit a bigger home run in his life, the Jays are still waiting to clinch another World Series and Cheek passed away before being given the highest honor an announcer can receive – the Ford C. Frick Award.  Cheeck was named the receipent of the honor given annually by the Baseball Hall of Fame to a broadcaster for contributions to the game in 2013, eight years after he passed away from the cancer that would not leave his body.

Jays fans will never forget his voice not only for that famous call but for other calls throughout his 4,306 regular season broadcasts.

Maybe I’m old school but there’s something about the sound of listening to a baseball game in October.

When I was willing the Jays on to victory in Atlanta, I could sense the ebb and flow of the game but I bet it was nothing like what the players went through on those World Series nights.

I don’t remember much about what it was like to stand in the batters box although I can remember begging that no one hit a fly ball to centerfield when I was a kid. I wanted nothing to do with playing the outfield and I was fairly certain that the coach knew it.

I wonder when a Jays hitter steps up in the Rogers Centre and hears the roar of the crowd whether he must feel some sort of pressure – something I would call external pressure.  He, of course, must put pressure on himself to do well so he has the internal pressure to do well.  With those two coming together he has to find a way to deal with them.

If you have ever stepped foot on the Rogers Centre turf – or Astroturf – and stared up at the Dome and the hotel rooms that look down on the field you can feel tiny.  Everything around you looks immense.  The banners wave in the breeze, motors hum, and every so often there is a banging of something off in the distance.  All of this is just when there is no one in the stands other than the tour group.

I can’t imagine trying to clear out all the sounds of the crowd from behind the plate as a batter or anywhere else.  Standing in the box staring out at the pitcher throwing a 92+ mile per hour fastball trying to hit while thousands of fans scream must be a challenge.  However, you probably have to be in touch with all of your senses.  I imagine you block out something.

When I played in the one real hockey game, I can’t remember hearing anything.  If someone yelled I would have no idea.  I was so focused on trying not to fall or at least trying to get up.  I imagine as a player it has to be the same way – hyper-focused on the task at hand.

If you have ever watched For Love Of The Game, fictional Detroit Tigers pitcher Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) talks about “clearing the mechanism.”  He blocks out the crowd noise and turns pitching into a game of toss between himself and his catcher, Gus. Baseball becomes a simplistic ritual so that he can deal with the internal and external pressure.

As fans, we think because we pay our money we can yell and scream at the players.  In some respects that is true but there are lines which we cannot cross and we should not cross.  These players are still human and we need to treat them like humans.  Paying money to attend a game doesn’t change that.

Toronto unfortunately, has gotten a few black eyes for the fans that have sullied their name.  Paying for tickets and being a fan doesn’t mean that we can throw things at players or jump in the field with them.  We can’t forget that they must be treated with respect and just because they can “clear the mechanism” doesn’t change their humanity.  Certainly we wouldn’t want someone throwing things at us when we are playing sports.  Changing how we look at sports also means changing how we act at sports – it starts with acting like humans.

Finding Peace With Sports Fandom

While the Toronto Blue Jays sit on the brink of imminent internal implosion and the Virginia Tech Hokies have finished a trip to Syracuse where they found a way to show their true colors – I wonder about the nature of fandom.

For some, these two events would drive fans to question the managers, players or refs. Others may  wonder what could have happened at a different moment in the game had “this play” occured.

I’m sure that some die hard fans watched and screamed at their televisions and possibly even threw things whenever they got the chance.

Not me.

Not recently anyway – the last thing I threw was my hockey stick.  To be fair, it wasn’t my hockey stick’s fault but it took the brunt of my frustration.

It was either the stick or something else.

Looking back, I should have picked the “something else.”

I wonder about the children who sports market to.  The mascots dance and look for kids at games.  Teams use cutesy graphics and shirts to get kids to wear their logos.  Once they get kids in the games they are hooked.

Kids watch these games and become “fans” of these teams.  I recall crying over the University of Tennessee Volunteers losing to Alabama in football and think about what led me to become a UT football fan.

Was it the team?  I didn’t know anything about the coach.  I didn’t know the players.

Was it the history of the University?  Of course not.  I had no idea about anything to do with it.  I didn’t have any connections to anyone involved with the University.

Was it the mascot?  Smokey is a Bluetick Coonhound.  I grew up with cats, birds and a hermit crab that I killed when I forgot to water it.  I didn’t think about the fact he needed water so I left it for a couple of weeks and it curled up in its shell and died.  Oops.

But Smokey was real, there was a real coonhound on the sidelines.  It was Smokey VI when I was growing up.  There was a Smokey caricature that could be found in different places that attracted kids.

Was it the winning?  I’m not sure.  That team didn’t really win much as the crying under the desk attests to.

Maybe it was part tradition (the team running out through the giant T that the Pride of the Southland band formed at the start of the game), Smokey and some kind of need to be a part of something.  I needed to be a part of the Volunteer Army – I didn’t know anyone with a boat who could get me into the Volunteer Navy.

There was the tradition of Tennessee high school football that seemed to flow into it as well.  Andy Kelly played high school football for Rhea County High School and I can remember going to see him play on the other side of Chattanooga – which I’m pretty sure was at Red Bank High School.

The kid was an All American and went to Tennessee – and a friend of the family knew him. So maybe I did have a connection?  Maybe that was part of the lure?  I’m not sure.  I just remember taking what seemed like a long bus ride and being out in the cold Eastern Tennessee night air.

As I grew older and moved away, my loyalties shifted just a bit because of my closeness to Virginia Tech.  However, my Tennessee roots are always there and at times I wonder if they are still there.

(My Mississippi roots don’t seem to run very deep – sometimes I think that’s probably a good thing but every state seems to have its fair share of problems)

In fact, my college choices were VT and UT with an invitation from the Pride of the Southland band to try out.

I’ve never said anything about that invitation but that weighed heavy on me.  I went back and forth on that.  I thought a lot about how much that band means to the people of Tennessee and the University as one of the oldest marching bands in the country.  Both schools knew I was involved in color guard but UT cared enough to invite me to the Pride of the Southland band.

I know there were reasons that I took up VT as opposed to UT and I know football was one of the main reasons.  Looking back on it I can say that was probably one of the key factors.

In high school, VT football was everything for me.  I went to VT games in high school from home games to away games (East Carolina, N.C. State and two Gator Bowls – one with Peyton Manning as a UT freshman QB).

I don’t know if I went to VT because of the English department or because of the opportunities there.  I don’t know if I went there because Nikki Giovanni, ironically born in Knoxville, TN,  was there or that I would get the chance to show her my work.  Ultimately I would get to have Giovanni read my work as well as interview iconic VT football coach Frank Beam for a piece in the Collegiate Times.

These are two things that not may can say they were able to attain.  As for how I got the meeting with Giovanni – I am to this day still confused.  I don’t believe my work was that good but nevertheless I am thankful for her guidance.

Some say things happen for a reason.  Others say we make our own choices.  Whatever it is we all are at where we are at.  The past is the past.

I didn’t choose UT and the Pride of the Southland band but VT and the chance to watch VT football.

Sometimes I think about it when I hear Andy Kelly on the UT football broadcasts.  I saw you play your senior year when I was just a kid.

People can make decisions – whether they are for sporting reasons or personal reasons or whatever reasons and look back years later to wonder what could have changed.  To look back and wonder what could have changed brings back nothing but wasted time.

Time heals but time changes – it’s over and done.  We can subscribe to any personal philosophy when it comes to why we made a decision.

We have to accept that there are things we will never be able to do.  In many ways that acceptance is what frees us from the burden of realization of limitation.  Yes we are limited, all humans have limits, and we have to find our limits.  Once we can “see” our talents and how much we have to give – we know where we can use them.  The ability to use them plays a key role in our happiness – which is why we must start inside ourselves.

Everyone can begin by accepting that whatever decisions, whether 30+ years ago or 30 minutes ago are past.  We can start by accepting that whatever it is we like, whatever it is that we find as a key part of our lives, we must acknowledge that it is important to us and not let anyone take away those pieces of us.  If we can make peace with those pieces, we can become whole with ourself.

The Value Of An Athlete’s Outburst – Or Why Josh Donaldson Was Right

Even though the Toronto Blue Jays are leading the American League East with 69 wins and 52 losses, the Boston Red Sox (67-52) and Baltimore Orioles (66-53) are nipping on their heels.  The Jays have needed to play some fantastic baseball to keep themselves ahead of their competition in a year that many analysts are picking the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series.

Three time all-star third baseman and thirty year old Josh Donaldson is one of Toronto’s favorite baseball players these days.  The “Bringer of Rain” (Twitter handle @BringerOfRain20) has torched pitching from the right side of the plate for the blue birds for the past one and a half seasons earning the $28.65 million for 2 years contract he signed for 2016 and 2017.

His numbers on paper prove that his MVP season of 2015 was no fluke. Through 8 /17, he has 450 at bats, .289 batting average, 96 Runs (tied for league lead), 130 hits, 26 doubles, 5 triples, 28 home runs (8th in the league), 80 runs batted in and 6 stolen bases to go along with a .390 on-base percentage as well as a .556 slugging percentage.

With the pressure on the club and on Donaldson to keep up the wins and numbers it’s only natural that someone is going to snap at some point. Whether it’s a frustration with a call or getting upset with a play that he makes – athletes are human.

Thursday, August 17th, 2016 – Josh Donaldson showed he was human at Yankee Stadium. Donaldson went 1-4 with two strikeouts and as he was walking back to the Jays dugout he slammed his bat down.  Unfortunately, Donaldson’s bat was close to the dugout – dangerously close.  Jays Manager John Gibbons turned and approached Donaldson as he put away his equipment in the bat rack.

Donaldson was clearly agitated with HIMSELF and didn’t want to talk about it but he screamed back at Gibbons.  Jays star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki stepped in between the two hot heads and separated them between anymore damage could be done – a la Reggie Jackson-Billy Martin in the Fenway Park dugout.  Although I think Gibbons could hold his own, he’s also had his fair share of confrontations with players too.

Afterward Donaldson tried to soothe the situation by saying after the game to the assembled media that “Gibby” wanted to know what kind of cologne he was wearing and it’s “this new Tom Ford.”  Donaldson told him to back up and he’d give him some after the game.  Donaldson even went so far as to take pictures of it and Tweet it out.  Gibbons for his part said the argument was over bat selection.

Some websites have taken to calling Donaldson a “cry baby” for his anticts.  Insisting that an all-star baseball player should never act like that.

I’ve tired over the years of us calling athletes “cry babies” or “whiners” because they strike out and throw their bat or snap it over their knee.  But when non-athletes act out in anger and throw something we don’t have millions of people showing up at our job or our house yelling at us and posting tweets calling us cry babies.   Some will say that it comes with being paid millions of dollars to play a game, but not all athletes are being paid millions of dollars and no one deserves to be abused.

Everyone has emotions and they can’t always contain those emotions no matter how hard and how long they try. Sometimes those emotions are going to bubble out.  When pitchers strike out someone and scream into their glove why do we not call them out?

I understand that Donaldson could have hurt someone and that’s the unfortunate thing about the situation.  To call him out for throwing a bat in disgust at striking out however is ridiculous.  This is a proud man who puts a tremendous amount of pressure on himself to compete and succeed.  It’s not just him but athletes in all sports.  We have to start recognizing that they are all humans and they all have feelings and emotions.  The moment we put them on pedestals and strip away the human element we turn them into robots that have no heart and no soul.  Athletes bleed and athletes hurt.  We see it on their faces and we see it when they get injured so why can’t we get past calling them childish names like cry babies when they do something we can’t do?  So he threw a bat?   Haven’t you thrown something in disgust?  Haven’t you said something in disgust?  Let’s magnify your life and put it on television for a day.  Tweet it, Instagram it, Facebook it and stream it around the world.  Now – you tell me – can you respect Josh Donaldson just a little bit more?   Let him get it out he’s only human.

Why The Leafs Are Doing It Right

It’s less than a week til the NHL trade deadline and I’m wondering how many of the current Toronto Maple Leafs will still be on the roster when the clock strikes 3 p.m. Eastern on February 29th, 2016. Up to this point we’ve seen the former Captain Dion Phaneuf go to Ottawa, Shawn Matthias traded to Colorado and Roman Polak and Nick Spaling going to San Jose.
Former General Manager of the New York Rangers Neil Smith said on the NHL Network that “you wanna do something to help your club” at the trading deadline and it looks like Lou Lamoriello is trying to do that. He may have started a little early but why wait? If you have the ability to get back what you want, take it while you can get it.
The most important thing that the Leafs are getting back in these deals are a. draft picks and b. expiring contracts. This wasn’t going to be the year that the Leafs were going to compete with the Blackhawks, Capitals and Stars of the NHL world, this was something we all had to accept that going into the season.
While Lamoriello isn’t making the same splash on the club like Alex Anthopoulos did with the Toronto Blue Jays during the Major League Baseball playoffs in 2015, his deals to bring in Troy Tulowitzki, LaTroy Hawkins, David Price and Ben Revere helped to breathe life into a club that was missing a couple of pieces. The Jays would go on to win the American League East and come within a couple of games of the ALCS crown losing to the eventual MLB champion Kansas City Royals.
But this isn’t Alex Anthopoulos’ Maple Leafs is it? Lou’s Maple Leafs are going to trade everything in order to build for the future rather than win now. This is what Maple Leafs fans have deserved for years thanks to Lou: a wholesale wheel and deal. Give the kids a chance to see what they can do and at the same time bring in draft picks to build for the future. There’s going to be growing pains but if this is done right this club will be built for the long haul, remember how the Devils won under Lou?
It has to be built around a solid core of young players and looking at the group in the American Hockey League, the Marlies are playing some amazing hockey this year. They are running away with the AHL sitting atop the North Division with a record of 40-9-4 with 84 points. There’s some really talented kids playing there: 19 year old center William Nylander has 42 points in 34 games, 22 year old winger Joshua Leivo has 38 points through 38 games (2 goals in 6 games with the big club), 21 year old center Brendan Leipsic has 37 points in 49 games (1 goal in 1 game with the Leafs), 22 year old winger Nikita Soshnikov has 25 points in 47 games and 19 year old Kasperi Kapanen has 20 points in 29 games (he scored the game-winning goal in overtime against Russia in the 2016 World Junior Championship on a hell of a move). Plus we can’t forget Tobias Lindberg who came over from Ottawa in the Phaneuf trade, he was one of the key parts of the deal and many see him as a “can’t miss” prospect.
Now that Lou is making moves, you can no doubt bet some of these guys are going to be coming up to the big club to get some NHL experience. If nothing else coach Mike Babcock will get a chance to see how the young guns respond to the speed and adversity of the next level. The Leafs will get a chance to play those young guys against some decent competition in the form of the Capitals, Lightning (three times), Panthers (twice), Islanders, Red Wings (twice) and Predators not to mention the Ducks or Bruins. There will be plenty to test the squad on and see how they handle teams fighting for playoff spots while learning how to handle the NHL game.
While we watch the young players grow we have to keep in mind that they are learning and we have to give this organization time to build. Lou is stockpiling draft picks and working on getting young blue chip prospects that will be the foundation of this Maple Leafs team for many many years to come. It’s not always going to be pretty but we know that Rome wasn’t built in a day. We have to hang in there Leafs fans, this is what we’ve needed for years, now it’s finally coming along.

Owning October In Ontario

Like a multitude of Jays’ fans, I was tuned to Game 5 of the Jays-Rangers game but I was only able to catch it after getting home from work.  By that time, the Jays were down, 2-1, and it was starting to feel like all those years of dreaming of getting back to another World Series were going to come to an end.

I should back everything up and tell you what it was like to be the kid growing up in Virginia that was “weird” because he liked the Jays.  Or when the Jays played the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 World Series where I was the only kid in a Virginia resort (where they filmed Dirty Dancing) and the room was ready to run me out of the building when the Jays took the lead in the game and won?  This was of course before the Washington Nationals and most people who weren’t Baltimore Orioles fans loved the Braves, so I was enemy number one not only because I was rooting against the beloved Braves but this was the Southern team, “America’s team” at the time, and I was rooting for the Canadian team.

They would look at me and ask “what’s wrong with you?”

“Why the Canadian team?  Why can’t you find an American team?”

“Because Robbie Alomar is my favorite player,” I would reply, “Because he is the best second baseman in the game.  Because I like the Jays.  I don’t question who you like.  Why do I have to defend who I like?”

Keep in mind that Joltin’ Joe Carter was from Oklahoma, Minnesota’s Dave Winfield was the DH, the SS was Kelly Gruber from Texas, John Olerud and his batting helmet hailed from Seattle and he patrolled first base and Pat Borders the catcher was from Ohio among the countless other players from America.

All anyone saw was the name on the front of the jersey, they didn’t see the players and who they were.  What they saw was a maple leaf or a “Toronto” and instantly they saw it as an insult to America.  Suddenly I was the outcast because I was the fan of the “foreign team.”  In a way, I think it was a wake up call for me, I think it was something that made me realize that the world can be such an unforgiving, unassuming and definitely a biased place.

While I was cheering for the Jays I also grew to love the Maple Leafs as well and I knew all their players.  It was a huge time for the city of Toronto, as the Leafs and Jays were winning and it seemed that entire city was feeling great.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned about Bill Barilko but also that the Leafs haven’t won a Cup since 1967.  I watched that Western Conference Final with the Kings and the Leafs and I still don’t know how Gretzky was not penalized for high sticking Killer.  That Leafs team has and probably always will be my favorite.  Dougie will probably always be my favorite Leaf as well.  So for someone who doesn’t live in Toronto or Canada, I’ve followed the Jays and Leafs from afar for years, unlike many of the people commenting on the game in the broadcast booth or in the Texas dugout.

Jump back to Game 5 and after Edwing ties the game with a monster shot, there’s nothing but nerves in the crowd for minutes to come.

That 7th inning that played out in Rogers Centre, the most bizarre 7th inning I’ll probably ever see, or you may ever see.  A ball bounces off a bat, an ump waves off play, a manager questions an ump’s decision, a run scores after the ump changes his mind, panic ensues, the ump calls his boss, more questioning, fans throw stuff on the field and then play starts back with the Jays down 3-2.  Phew.  I think I got all that.

I don’t condone what the fans in Rogers Centre did when they threw stuff on the field, but I will say that there’s a lot of pent-up feelings about the way Canadians have been treated.  Harold Reynolds’ jab at Canadians and the feeling that once again someone was going to screw their team out of advancement (Kerry Fraser not calling that high stick) among other things.  But I would never throw anything on the field. I don’t understand when fans throw home run balls back, keep that ball, what’s the point?  So it wasn’t your team, but it’s a Major League baseball, who cares who hit it?

When the bottom half of the inning played itself out all the way up to Joey Bats, sorry I had to call him that, it just felt like this is the way the game was supposed to be.  Jeff Banister can say it came down to bad fielding and this that or the other, but in reality, the better team won.  But I’m getting ahead of myself again.

Joey Bats.  The homer.  THE HOMER.  Joe Carter said it was the second best home run in Jays history, Joe should know.  I still remember Joe’s home run.  I think I jumped through the house like Joe.  I couldn’t stand Mitch Williams.  For Joe to slam that ball over the fence like that and beat the terrible Phillies, it was the best.  But in some ways this was almost better.

I almost think Robbie’s homer off Eckersley in Game 4 of the 1992 ALCS is up there too.  Robbie who hardly ever was a home run threat against a guy that all those damn A’s fans thought would shut down the Jays and he just sends it down the line.  I had a poster I got from Toronto with him winning the ALCS MVP that showed him holding up his arms after hitting that home run.  I remember I had rigged up an antenna in my room so I could listen to radio stations all over the country (and Canada!) and I happened to catch that game and I still remember that home run.

Anyway, Jose hits the home run and flips his bat.  He just has no more use for a bat because in reality the ball is on its way to Vancouver.  They are going to need to send out the RCMP to find it.  Apparently some felt that Jose was showing up the pitcher which led me to ask the question, why is that in baseball everyone is so against showing emotion?

In football, you score a touchdown and you celebrate.  Guys run down the field to grab each other and jump up and down.  A quarterback makes a toss to a wide receiver who burns a safety to score and the safety doesn’t say after the game he felt like the wide receiver showed him up by celebrating.

In basketball some guy makes a huge three in the corner to tie the game late in the fourth and the entire bench goes crazy.  No one is over there saying that they are being shown up.

In hockey, you score a goal and you go celebrate.  You jump up against the glass and celebrate with your linemates.  You celebrate.  No one says you are showing up the goalie.

In soccer, it’s the same thing.  Goal.  Celebrate.

The pitcher’s job is to throw the ball by the batter and the batter’s job is to hit the ball.  That being said there’s emotion because we are human.  When humans do jobs, emotions get involved.

What I can’t understand is why are we still talking about people being shown up in 2015?  When this gets brought up I think about those two old guys on the Muppets.  I imagine baseball as being a game for old guys that want to see a boring game.  If that’s what people want to see then it’s time to change the game.

Steve Phillips of SiriusXm’s The Lead Off Spot made a comment on the day after the game that David Price had a note left in his locker by Joe Maddon when he was playing for the Tampa Bay Rays.  Maddon told him if he didn’t want to be shown up that he needs to make the pitch.  In this situation if Sam Dyson throws a better pitch we aren’t talking about the second greatest home run in Jays history occurring on October 14, 2015.  How ironic is it that Sam Dyson was drafted by the Jays in 2010?

Now it’s time to move on to Kansas City and hopefully the Jays don’t let all the emotional energy of a comeback win and odd 7th drain them.  It’s time for them not only to take October but Own October because October is for bats…Joey Bats!